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Hollywood Town Hall

4.4 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The Jayhawks' breakthrough album is a roots rock classic. "Like folk music, but really loud," is how guitarist Gary Louris liked to describe the Jayhawks, but the reality is more complex--try the country-rock sound of the Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, or the Band married to white-boy soul, bar band rawness, and a slight alternative edge. Hollywood Town Hall is a masterpiece of American songwriting, blending irresistible melodies, ringing guitars, and Louris and Olson's gorgeous harmonies with moody, imagery-rich lyrics. Best cuts: "Waiting for the Sun," "Take Me with You (When You Go)."
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11, 2002)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American
  • ASIN: B000068FY1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
My first impression of Hollywood Town Hall was "Well, that was nice." Then I set the album aside. Some things get better with age. Over the years I've played it frequent, each time discovering something fresh. What impresses me most is that Hollywood Town Hall sounds both effortless and balanced. Instead of getting together a saying "Hey, let's do a country album" or "Let's do a rock album," these guys just got together and did what came natural. And natural means skillful songwriting, masterful playing and savory harmonies. The vocal harmonies remind me of a cross between the Everly Brothers and the country duo the O'Kanes: neither country, not hillbilly, nor rock, but certainly earnest.
The CD glistens with an uncommon balance. The fuzz guitars (Waiting For The Sun, Take Me With You When You Go), screaming guitars (Wichita) and melodic bass guitar are blended into an ear-catching, but soothing mix of folk, country and rock. Gary Louris' fingering technique is clever: he makes an electric guitar sound like a pedal-steel (Two Angels). Through and through, Nicky Hopkins (Rolling Stones) provides the tasteful and understated keyboard work. The group and the album defy categorization. At low to moderate listening levels, the album is calm and peaceful. Turn-up the volume and Hollywood Town Hall rocks. I don't know what to call it except glorious.
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Format: Audio CD
1992's "Hollywood Town Hall" is an alt-rock classic. Every song on this album is a gem. Technically the Jayhawks' third album (after their eponymous debut, also known as the "Bunkhouse Album," [1986] and "Blue Earth" [1989]), HTH is the culmination of the band's early sound. Olson and Louris weren't fighting yet-- they were still having fun making their guitars jangle and their fuzz boxes buzz. (Think Roger McGuinn meets the Jesus and Mary Chain... on ecstacy...) And their vocal harmonies are just plain gorgeous. The lyrics are poetic and obscure, always a tad wistful, but the music is clear and bright-- in short, this is why the early-mid-90's alt-country movement has sometimes been called "no depression." They keep the earthy, folky roots of the music intact, but add gritty rock and honeyed pop overtones for a sound that's both familiar and new. (Well, that just sounds pretentious... but it's true!) Anyway, HTH's sound and mood are so consistent and seamless that it's hard to choose standout tracks, but my favorites are "Waiting for the Sun," "Crowded in the Wings," "Take Me With You (When You Go)," "Settled Down Like Rain," "Nevada, California," and "Martin's Song."

[Historical note: the term "no depression" was probably first applied to alt-country in homage to the 1990 Uncle Tupelo album of that name, which was, in turn, a tip o' the hat to the Carter Family's depression era song, "No Depression in Heaven."]
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Format: Audio CD
Do you count 'After the Gold Rush', 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' and 'Ragged Glory by Neil Young' among your all-time favorite albums? Then you must run and get this album immediately. The first track, 'Waiting for the Sun' showcases the Jayhawks perfect harmonies and Gary Louris's heart stopping melodic leads. Like the Eagles album 'Desperado' every song on this album flows seamlessly from one to the next. The haunting 'Nevada California' captures the stark beauty and emptiness one experiences driving up thru the high dessert between Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA. Y2K is about two weeks away, I think I'll pick up an extra copy of 'Hollywood Town Hall'. Five stars doesn't do this masterpiece justice.
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Format: Audio CD
*** This Review Is For The 2011 Extended LEGACY EDITION ***

After two accomplished Indie albums in 1986 and 1989 ("The Jayhawks" and "Blue Earth"), The Jayhawks finally made everyone sit up and take notice with their stunning 1992 breakthrough Americana effort "Hollywood Town Hall". This January 2011 Legacy Edition is a remaster of that revered 3rd album and now features 5 bonus tracks (two of which are previously unreleased).

American 88697 72731 2 breaks down as follows (61:12 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Hollywood Town Hall" released in 1992 on Def American 26829 (it finally charted in the USA in early 1993)
Tracks 11, 12 and 13 are "Leave No Gold", "Keith And Quentin" and "Up Above My Head" - they first appeared on a Promo-Only 1993 Def American US CD compilation called "Scrapple" (11 was a bonus track on the European edition of the CD album, while 12 and 13 later turned up as non-album B-sides on the European and Australian CD singles for "Waiting For The Sun")
Tracks 14 and 15 are "Warm River" and "Mother Trust You To Walk To The Store" - and are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Tracks 1 to 15 are all written by MARK OLSON and GARY LOURIS and produced by GEORGE DRAKOULIAS - except "Witchita" (Track 8) which is co-written with Marc Perlman and Track 14 which is a Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight cover version of "Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air" (1949 Gospel tune on Decca)

The 2011 2CD Legacy Edition of "Tomorrow The Green Grass" is missing 3 non-album B-sides (when there was room for them) because they're on the superlative "Music From The North Country" American Recordings 2CD/1DVD compilation from 2009 - the same applies here. There are 2 outtakes on "Music From...
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